Mackinnon Stakes/Champions Stakes Race Information

The Champions Stakes (previously called the Mackinnon Stakes) is a 2000 metre weight-for-age race held in  November each year at Flemington during the Spring Racing Carnival. Until 2015 it was held on the Saturday before the Melbourne Cup but in 2016 was moved to the Saturday after.

  • Race Type: Group 1
  • Distance: 2000 metres
  • Conditions: Weight-for-age, 3YO & upwards
  • Track: Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne, Victoria
  • Prizemoney: $3,000,000
  • Date: Saturday 11 November 2023

Mackinnon Stakes Race History

See the 2023 Champions Stakes Preview & results

See the 2022 Champions Stakes Preview & results

See the 2021 Mackinnon Stakes Preview & results

The first Emirates Mackinnon Stakes was run in 1869 and was won by a horse named Glencoe. It was known as the Melbourne Stakes prior to 1936, and has had Group 1 status since 1979. It carries prizemoney of $2,000,000 and is a WFA race for three-year-olds and up, although in 2003 Casual Pass became the first three-year-old to win the Mackinnon Stakes for 50 years.

Until 2015 it was held on the Saturday before the Melbourne Cup but in 2016 was moved to the Saturday after. In 2022 it was renamed the Champions Stakes.

Useful Facts

Last mare to win: Atishu (2023)

Last 3YO to win: C&G – Casual Pass (2003);

Multiple winners: Zaaki (2021 & 2022); Belmura Lad (1980 & 1981); Rising Fast (1954 & 1955); Comic Court (1949 & 1950); Tranquil Star (1942, 1944 & 1945); Beau Vite (1940 & 1941); Peter Pan (1932 & 1934); Phar Lap (1930 & 1931); Eurythmic (1920 & 1921); Cetigne (1917 & 1919); Wakeful (1901, 1902 & 1903); Battalion (1897 & 1898), Chester (1878 & 1880); Dagworth (1873 & 1874).

Fastest time (2000m): Horlicks (1989) 2:00:30

Interesting trivia: In 1886 Isonomy won in a run-off after a dead-heat with Bookla.

Previous winners of the Mackinnon Stakes

There are a number of great mares in the list of past winners, with five mares winning in the past 20 years. These are Empire Rose (1988), Horlicks (1989), Let’s Elope (1991), Champagne (1998) and La Bella Dama (2001). Both Empire Rose and Let’s Elope were good enough to go on to win the Melbourne Cup the following tuesday. Two legendary mares have managed to win this race on three occasions – Tranquil Star in 1942, 1944 & 1945 and Wakeful in 1901, 1902, 1903 and are the only two horses to win three times, although there are many several horses to win on two occasions, including Phar Lap in 1930 and 1931.

There are many other notable winners including Grand Armee (2004), Lonhro (2002), Better Loosen Up (1990), Rubiton (1987), Dulcify (1979), Leilani (1974), Rain Lover (1968), Tobin Bronze (1966), Comic Court (1949 & 1950), Flight (1946), Ajax (1938), Peter Pan (1932 & 1934) and Carbine (1889).

Year Winner Second Third
2023 Atishu Duais Young Werther
2022 Zaaki Mo’unga Hezashocker
2021 Zaaki Cascadian Mo’unga
2020 Arcadia Queen Fifty Stars Melody Belle
2019 Magic Wand Melody Belle Hartnell
2018 Trap For Fools Latrobe (IRE) Extra Brut
2017 Tosen Stardom Happy Clapper It’s Somewhat
2016 Awesome Rock Hauraki (dead heat 2nd)Seaburge (dead heat 2nd)  Vadamos
2015 Gailo Chop Rising Romance (NZ) Magic Artist (IRE)
2014 Happy Trails He’s Your Man (FR) Farraaj (IRE)
2013 Side Glance Dear Demi Moriarty
2012 Alcopop Glass Harmonium Ocean Park
2011 Glass Harmonium Mourayan Rekindled Interest
2010 So You Think Descarado Ginga Dude
2009 Scenic Shot Miss Maren Viewed
2008 Thesio Barbaricus Sirmione
2007 Sirmione Princess Coup Zipping
2006 Desert War Growl Aqua dAmore
2005 Lad Of The Manor Our Smoking Joe Lachlan River
2004 Grand Armee Confectioner Vouvray
2003 Casual Pass Pentastic Fields Of Omagh
2002 Lonhro Royal Code Distinctly Secret
2001 La Bella Dama Hill Of Grace Emission
2000 Oliver Twist Camarena Slavonic

From the archives

2018 Mackinnon Stakes Preview & Tips:

Track: Good   Weather: Fine

There are only 10 runners for the Seppelt Mackinnon Stakes with three having their last start in the Group 2 Crystal Mile and two in the Victoria Derby. The short-priced favourite is Blair House who ran on strongly for a close 2nd in the Caulfield Stakes last outing. Second favourite is Latrobe who will be having his first start in Australia and was 2nd in the Irish St Leger last start. Third favourite is Empire Rose Stakes winner Shillelagh, who is the only mare in the field.

Extra Brut looked strong winning the Victoria Derby last week. Trap For Fools ran 2nd in the Moonee Valley Cup after finishing less than 2 lengths behind Winx in the Turnbull Stakes. Prized Icon was closing the entire straight when 2nd in the Crystal Mile. It’s Somewhat ran 3rd in this race last year and ran 6th in the Crystal Mile last start. All other runners are currently 20 to 1 or longer.

The following are the top 4 selections from our tipster panel for this years race.

Jo’s Tips
3 Blair House
4 Trap For Fools
7 Latrobe
9 Extra Brut